Power steering fluid change interval for an '08 Lexus RX350 with 70K miles

I’m getting conflicting information on the change interval for power steering fluid in my 2008 Lexus RX 350 (AWD) w/ 70,000 miles on it. I decided that since my car is getting old and out of warranty, it was time to stop going got the dealer for maintenance and pick a local shop. So I did.

The shop owner quoted me 40 bucks for an oil and filter change (Sounds reasonable). When I returned, he said that the ATF and brake fluid needed to be changed (Both I’d had done in a prior service less than 8,000 miles ago). He also said that the power steering fluid was starting to “crystallize” and needed changing, too. The new quote? $360.

I thanked him, paid for the oil change only and promised to call him later for a second date (not likely, based on what he tried to do to me on the first).

I thought I’d do a little research since I’d never heard of PSF (ATF Dexron II or III) crystallizing. Couldn’t find a thing online. I checked the owner’s manual and it said nothing about changing the PSF, only how to add. I called the dealer and the service tech said they don’t recommend changing the fluid in newer Lexuses (Lexi?).

So here I am. It makes sense that the fluid should be changed at some point. I’m not satisfied with the answers I’m getting from all the usual suspects so I’m turning to you.

Your new mechanic is trying to upsell you on a number of unneeded items. I’d find another mechanic. How did you find this one? Talk to everyone you know and ask where they get work done and if they would recommend the shop. Eventually, a few good shops will be mentioned several times. Try those. BTW, also ask about cost. We have a couple of garages near me that do good work. but one is extremely expensive.

Agree with JT. While its a good idea, I’ve never changed the power steering fluid in any of my cars. Maybe it should be done in four years or 80-100K but sure isn’t on my priority list. Trans fluid though should be done every 30K (pan drop, not fluid exchange IMHO) and brake fluid every couple of years but take a look at the owners manual and go by that. In defference to him, he probably didn’t know the previous service history and hard to tell looking at the dipstick or the resivoir.

"“He also said that the power steering fluid was starting to “crystallize” and needed changing, too. The new quote? $360.”

RUN, do not walk away from this shop…Petroleum (or synthetic) based fluids can not “crystallize”. You can change the PS fluid yourself for under $20…All you need is a $2 turkey baster and a quart of the correct fluid…

Once a year I drain and refill the PS reservoir.
A simple 15 minute DIY project with a small turkey baster or hose.

BTW, you didn’t need to go to the dealer for routine maintenance under warranty.
The only time I’ve gone to the dealer is for a recall.

Your power steering fluid is constantly circulated throughout the system by the pump, only diverted to one side or the other of the rack’s piston when you turn. It is not an enclosed system like the brake system and requires no bleeding when done. It’s very easy to change if you choose to do so. Simply remove as much of the fluid from the reservoir as you can using a $1 turkey baster, refill the reservoir and let the fluid circulate, and repeat the process. You get most of it changed that way.

The hardest part of the process is bringing the old fluid to the recycling center.

Oh, yeah, shame on him for BSing you. The fluid does not crystallize.

Found this guy on the web. Searched Temecula Lexus repair. He popped up with good yelp reviews and touting a three-year/30,000 warranty on their repairs.

Thanks to everyone who’s commented so far. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because he seemed nice and spoke with conviction. I appreciate the input and will find another mechanic.

Thanks also for the info on how to change it should I decide it needs it. Yeah, the “crystallizing” thing sent up some red flags. I may not be the best mechanic, but enough doubt cropped up in my mind to walk away and do some checking.

Looks like this guy will have to find someone else to fund his kid’s college.

“Searched Temecula Lexus repair. He popped up with good yelp reviews and touting a three-year/30,000 warranty on their repairs.”

Good marketing and savvy businessman, but probably not competent nor very smart.

Ask around for a good mechanic, a “Toyota” one would work just fine. Every time I see a store sign saying the shop specializes in European cars or some high end luxury brand, I know they are after more $$.

I have been driving 64 years and never changed a power steering fluid, and never had a problem with it. Now the next person might have had trouble 200k miles down the road.